Baltimore Ravens: What the Offensive Line Will Look Like on Opening Night
The biggest uncertainty for the Baltimore Ravens midway through the preseason is the offensive line.
To say that the line has lacked continuity so far this season would be an understatement. The offensive line isn't very good as is, and the fact that linemen such as Michael Oher, Kelechi Osemele and Bryant McKinnie have played multiple positions hasn't helped.
Here's a prediction of what the line will look like for the first regular-season game.
Left Tackle: Bryant McKinnie
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Despite battling weight and conditioning issues so far in training camp, veteran Bryant McKinnie will be the starting left tackle for the Ravens this season.
He was fairly successful last season, his first with the Ravens. While he is nearing retirement, he is the most talented and most experienced left tackle on the team, which will ultimately win him the starting job at left tackle.
Left Guard: Bobbie Williams
Despite having noticeable struggles in the first two preseason games, veteran Bobbie Williams is the only viable candidate to win the starting left guard job.
Rookie Kelechi Osemele could challenge him for the job, but it appears that the Ravens plan to use Osemele as the team's long-term solution at right tackle once Michael Oher moves to left tackle.
He will get beat on more plays than other Ravens linemen this season, but Williams is the best option at left guard at this point.
Center: Matt Birk
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Matt Birk will be the starting center for the Baltimore Ravens this season, and quite frankly there's no competition. Rookie Gino Gradkowski is the only other center on the team who will make the final 53-man roster, but there's zero chance Gradkowski wins the starting job.
He's nearing the end of his career, but Birk is still one of the best leaders in the NFL when it comes to offensive linemen.
Birk will be the anchor of the Ravens offensive line in 2012, which could be his last NFL season.
Right Guard: Marshal Yanda
This pick is the most obvious out of the five.
In the past two seasons, Marshal Yanda has emerged as one of the best right guards in the NFL. When it comes to run-blocking, Yanda may be the best.
Yanda has been the best offensive lineman on the team over the past two seasons, which resulted in the Ravens giving him a five-year, $32 million contract last summer.
He hasn't missed a game since 2008, and the team needs him to stay healthy all season in order to keep the offensive line in order.
Right Tackle: Michael Oher
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While he has been rotated between left and right tackle during the preseason, Michael Oher will ultimately end up back at his usual position, which is right tackle.
Despite having an up-and-down career so far, Oher has never missed a start, which is certainly a promising sign moving forward. He's the best option at right tackle right now, although backup right tackle Kelechi Osemele could be starting somewhere on the offensive line by season's end.
It appears that the team sees him as the long-term solution at left tackle, but this season Oher will start at right tackle.